[EDITORIALS]A misguided strike threat

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[EDITORIALS]A misguided strike threat

The labor union at Hyundai Motor Co. reached a decision yesterday to go on strike next week. Despite resistance from many union members and worries voiced by the citizens of Ulsan, union leaders opted for the worst means possible to express their grievances, a walkout.
That means the unionized workers at the top automaker are willing to do damage to their company amounting to hundreds of times their year-end bonus amount.
Hyundai Motor’s union has been urged repeatedly to make its requests and press them with the company’s management using rational and lawful means.
Civic groups in Ulsan, 115 in all, asked the union “not to repeat the long-held evil practices driven by mass egotism,” saying that the walkout could thrust Hyundai’s numerous business partners into bankruptcy. But the union leaders turned their backs on the request.
Now it is high time that a number of rank-and-file union members who have been silent but hard-working on Hyundai Motor assembly lines take action against their union leaders.
The members should not blindly follow the guidelines of the union executives and must strictly judge how they can contribute to the long-term survival of the automaker and retain their jobs at the same time.
Hyundai Motor is now being driven into the center of the global auto market, which is marked by fierce competition. An additional burden of the soaring value of the won is also pressing hard on Korea’s leading auto manufacturing company.
Critics say the current situation is manageable, but it is not clear when everything will begin to crumble if the strikes keep going on. Union leaders do not seem to be aware of the realities they face.
If things worsen, their hard-line stance will force them not only to lose all their bonuses but also sweep away all the jobs of their members.
More than anything else, the decision to go on strike again lacks sufficient grounds and is illegal.
The union leaders did not follow the labor dispute procedure in the labor law and avoided soliciting the agreement of all the members. Joining the illegal strike is breaking the law.
Hyundai Motor will have to strictly abide by the law and principles. The company will have to take the blame if it shuts its eyes to illegal activities and accepts unreasonable demands from its labor union.
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